Getting and keeping a good credit history requires finding and using the right credit cards, the right way. Compare our list of credit cards and prepaid debit cards specifically designed for people with Fair Credit, and find the best one for you. Credit even better than fair? Check out our list of credit cards for excellent credit applicants.
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at Genesis Bankcard Services's
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Updated: December 1, 2017
With fair credit, you can build credit with some products, so that you will eventually qualify for better loans and interest rates. But first, baby steps. While not as rich in rewards as cards that require good or excellent credit, there are fair credit cards that offer cash back or points.
Here, we look at:
Learn more about how fair credit works and what it can do for you:
The credit score for the fair category differs depending on the scoring model. Scores typically range from bad to excellent. The dominant scoring model is FICO, which has a range of 300-850, with 850 as the best. The fair range for FICO is 580-669. VantageScore, another scoring model, also has a range of 300-850. The equivalent to its fair range is 641-700. (You can get your free VantageScore on creditcards.com, as well as your free TransUnion credit report.) Credit scores are the numbers lenders use to assess your creditworthiness. It helps them decide which loans and interest rates you qualify for. FICO and VantageScore evaluate their scores based on the credit information the 3 major credit bureaus gather, including your payment habits.
Fair credit, which is the mid-range for scoring models, has medium-high risk for lenders. According to FICO, the dominant scoring model, about 28% of consumers with a fair score are likely to become delinquent. The higher the score, the lower the risk for the lender. A fair credit score range with FICO is 580-669; the fair range for VantageScore is 641-700, with the total range for both being 300-850.
There are typically 5 credit score ranges: bad, poor, fair, good and excellent. The better your score, the better the terms on your loans and the better the credit card offers. Here’s how to improve your score:
If your credit reports are accurate and all negative items have been rectified, you have a credit card that you use, and you are paying on time and in full each month, it will take just a few months for your credit score to improve. Your most recent credit information has the most weight, so as you pay each month, you are steadily improving your credit. Most negative credit information falls off after 7 years, but even if it is on your reports, the older it is, the less important it is.
With good credit, you can get better loan products, including improved interest rates and rich credit card offers. With fair credit, your options are more limited, but it’s not hopeless. For example, it’s possible to get a credit card with rewards or an installment loan, although the interest rate will likely be higher than if you have good or excellent credit. If you have fair credit, it might be best to keep working on building your credit before taking out a car loan or mortgage, because you can save thousands with the lower interest rates you get with better credit. How do you build credit? A credit card is the fastest and easiest way to get to good or excellent credit. Just pay on time and in full each month, putting a small monthly charge on the card. Even with fair credit, there are a number of benefits available on certain cards, including: